Weekend Reads 3.6.15

Typewriter(I’m still giddy about this vintage typewriter I scored at Goodwill last week!)

Articles:

(Some of the most popular posts from my Facebook feed this week!)

Elementary School Dumps Homework and Tells Kids to Play Instead {DNAinfo}

‘In response to DNAinfo’s inquiries, Hsu released a statement defending the new homework policy — insisting that the playtime, conversations with relatives and unstructured reading was key to education.

“We are excited that we are redefining the landscape of homework — but we are certainly not eliminating homework,” Hsu said.

“We are creating opportunities for students and their families to engage in activities that research has proven to benefit academic and social-emotional success in the elementary grades. We look forward to seeing the positive impact our newly-designed homework options will have on our students and their families.”’

Responses that Work with Children {Carrots are Orange} Continue reading

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Sometimes the Best Parenting Advice is the Simplest

Simple Advice

I’ve spent a lot of time reading, writing, and teaching about positive parenting.  It’s not all selfless professionalism, of course.  I’m a mom to four awesome boys.  Four awesome boys who make my heart explode with happiness.  And four awesome boys who sometimes make my head explode with craziness.

No one gets out of parenthood challenge-free.  And so, I — and many other parents I know — spend a lot of time reading up on the latest advice and all the oldest tricks in the book.  Anything to help us feel like we just might be getting the hang of this parenting gig.

I’ve read (and written) pages upon pages of well laid out and even complicated theories on development and parenting.  I’ve picked up tool upon tool from hours of studying and training.  I value every opportunity for learning and growth — even the ones that come in the form of challenges.

And yet, I find that some of the very best tools for parenting are some of the simplest.  I don’t regret hours of hitting the books, attending conferences, or sitting in university classes, but intertwined with that learning shines the simplicity of truths I’ve learned from a variety of sources: professors and experts, yes, but also friends, family, and life itself.

Here are a few of the top pieces of parenting advice that just happen to be some of the simplest. Continue reading

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Positive Guidance Tools: Redirection

Challenging child behavior comes from a variety of causes (you can read more about how to get to the root of those causes here).  Because the causes are so varied, we have to have a variety of tools at the ready to help us respond appropriately.  Just as Bob Vila carries more than just a hammer in his tool belt for addressing the variety of challenges presented in a home, parents and teachers need more than one tool for responding to behavior.

when all you have is a hammer

In my ecourse, Parenting with Positive Guidance, I teach 10+ tools for building positive discipline — the type of discipline that encourages both positive behavior and healthy relationships.  Here is an introduction to one of my favorite tools: Redirection. Continue reading

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On My Bookshelf

In the interest of full disclosure, this post really should be called “On My iPhone”.  I go through most of my books by listening on Audible .*  I pay a monthly membership to have someone read to me while I drive, cook, clean, run, or fold laundry because I find I have a lot more of that time available than I have sitting down and reading quietly time.  As a bonus, I find I’m much more eager to cook, clean, fold laundry, etc. if I am deep into a book!  So it’s a win-win.  I don’t fall asleep (which often happens when I sit down to read–I blame motherhood) and my household tasks get taken care of with less grumbling from me!  Also on the topic of full disclosure, all links with an asterisk indicate an affiliate link.

book

You’ve probably noticed that I didn’t spend a whole lot of time writing in December and January.  I did, however, spend a lot of time reading.  Or at least, I spent a lot of time cleaning and moving (*again*), which for me, equals a lot of time listening to books!  Here are a few of my favorite recent reads.

The Spark: A Mother’s Story of Nurturing, Genius, and Autism* by Kristine Barnett

This book was fascinating!  And while this memoir centers around the author’s son and their family’s journey with autism, Barnett points out very clearly that this book and her philosophy of finding and feeding a child’s spark is not unique to children with autism.  It’s a message for all children and all parents:  Find the spark.  Celebrate it.  Feed it.  And don’t be afraid to blaze your own trail.  This book was really inspiring to me both as a parent and an educator. Continue reading

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A Love Letter for Early Childhood Teachers: You are SO Valuable

I shared a quote with some early childhood educators last week, and was somewhat surprised with how deeply it seemed to resonate with them.source value“Your value doesn’t decrease based on someone’s inability to see your worth.”  (Source Unknown)

It resonated with me as an early childhood professional as well, that’s why I shared it.  But why is that the case?

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Resources for Defending Childhood

Speaking EngagementsMy voice is nearly gone. 

The combination of a cold I picked up snuggling my sniffling 5 year old earlier in the week, together with three 1 1/2 hour presentations given in less than 24 hours time, has dropped my voice several decibels and quite likely a full octave.

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Filed under Child Development & DAP, Learning through Play and Experience

We’re Not Perfect…But Why Should that Stop Us?

kite flying

Each new year, as I think on new beginnings here on the blog, I feel this strange need to reassert that I am nothing special.  I am a far from perfect parent, teacher, researcher, and writer.

I am generally and generously flawed as a human being.

I don’t know why I feel the urge to make that disclaimer so frequently.  Why this need to make it absolutely clear that I am, so obviously, human?  The urge has been particularly strong this year, as our family is in the middle of an adventure….or in the middle of chaos, depending upon your perspective!

I think it’s because I work in this professional sphere of ideal theory and best practice, meshed with the Pinterest-perfection of the blogosphere.  I want to be able to share all the best that’s out there, without creating any false illusion that I am actually doing it all perfectly myself.

Then there are days when I not only feel the need to make the disclaimer, but to ask the ever-ready “Who am I?” question.

“Who am I to teach people how to be good parents?”

“Who am I to write about classroom practice?”

“Who am I to get up in front of an auditorium full of people and tell them how to be champions for childhood?”

“Who am I to do any of it, when I’m just me — perfectly imperfect me?”

I know I’m not alone in this.  I think the pandemic of perfectionism makes a valiant attempt to stop many of us in our tracks.

I hear it all around me:

My friend who worries as a blogger, about matching up with the strengths of her peers.

My friend who’s a health coach, who feels weighed down by guilt because she struggles as much as her clients do with food demons and negative self-talk.

My fellow moms who say we’re aware of the fact that we’re in charge of these little people, but quite honestly aren’t sure we know what the heck we’re doing from moment to moment.

We aren’t perfect.  Not one of us.

And that’s OK.

What’s not OK, is when we let our imperfections get in the way of our greatness. Continue reading

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Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

Merry Christmas

It’s been a wild year!  The past 12 months have tossed our family quite a few transitions.  With a new job position for my husband, a new state for our family, and a new construction project to turn into a home (hopefully in the next few months, anyway), life has felt a bit topsy-turvy this year!

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Filed under Child Development & DAP, Learning through Play and Experience, Positive Guidance and Social Skills